Using Surveys to Uphold Cultural Marketing and Appeal to Customers

Using Surveys to Uphold Cultural Marketing and Appeal to Customers

In an increasingly diverse digital and physical landscape, cultural marketing is more important than ever. Diversity in the United States is growing, correlating with the public’s views on the need for diversity in marketing. 

61% of Americans find diversity in advertising important, and 38% of consumers are more likely to trust brands that display diversity in their ads. Evidently, brands must carry out cultural marketing to satisfy a diverse target market. 

To do so, brands should implement a data-driven strategy so that they are properly marketing to and serving consumers from a wide spectrum of cultures, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.

This article sheds light on cultural marketing, its importance, the consequences of neglecting it and how surveys help brands understand diverse audiences and execute cultural marketing campaigns. 

Understanding Cultural Marketing

Also called multicultural or cross-cultural marketing, cultural marketing refers to the marketing practice in which a message, product or service is promoted to a particular group of potential customers who belong to a certain culture, demographic or socioeconomic group. 

The campaigns making up this practice are meant to build consumer relationships with existing and potential customers. In cultural marketing, businesses leverage various aspects of an ethnic group’s culture, such as its language, tradition, holidays, religion and other cultural matters. 

Cultural marketing is also a kind of inclusive marketing, in that it is meant to represent all people, rather than merely those who make up the majority of the population. It is used for both advertising and marketing to people in different cultures as well as appealing to their specific interests and catering to their specific needs

The ultimate goal is to relate and connect with diverse consumers so that they eventually convert or remain loyal to the brand; the latter involves customers who have made at least one purchase. After all, retention is critical for business and cultural marketing can help increase a business’s customer retention rate

This is because all customers want to feel represented and included. Given that retention involves building solid relationships with customers and making them feel included and appreciated, cultural marketing can make strides on increasing the customer retention rate. 

The Importance of Cultural Marketing 

Multicultural marketing is critical in the face of a diversifying nation and an overall diverse digital environment. However, there are many other factors that make up the importance of cultural marketing. 

Brands ought to take them all into consideration, as some of these reasons will also guide them on forming a cultural marketing strategy.

First off, this kind of marketing opens new doors for businesses to engage with consumers who are outside the “majority audience.” By targeting specific target market segments based on their ethnic and socio-cultural facets, businesses can build a deeper emotional connection with consumers. In turn, this increases the chance of a conversion.

This kind of connection also builds customer loyalty, thus playing a role in retaining customers. Retaining customers paves the way for customer advocacy, in which customers act as brand ambassadors, recommending a business to their family, friends and peers. 

Thus, establishing an emotional connection by way of engaging customers is important, as 80% of emotionally engaged customers will promote brands they are loyal to compared to 50% of those who are less engaged.

Moreover, a consumer’s ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic background influences how they behave, from how they consume content, to their customer buying behavior. Marketers should therefore consider their target market’s various traditions, languages, customs, beliefs, and other experiences when developing and delivering marketing campaigns.

Multicultural marketing brings these influences into focus and allows businesses to strategize accordingly, which in turn allows brands to improve their communications with the diverse groups making up their target market.

Additionally, cultural marketing deals heavily with adoption, as there are constant shifts in the  U.S. cultural landscape and abroad.  The onus to adapt to these changes is on businesses.

Finally, there are certain cultural aspects that may be appropriate in some cultures, but not in others. Businesses must assure that they don’t appear culturally ignorant or indifferent to these cultural differences and sensitivities. For example, what’s acceptable to wear in the United States may not be in the Middle East.

What Happens When Brands Neglect Cultural Marketing

To piggyback off of the previous section, brands that neglect understanding cultural differences will poorly execute cultural marketing, if they attempt any culturing marketing endeavors at all. 

Brands that don’t implement cultural marketing in their strategy will have several reputational consequences, along with other business risks. Firstly they are going to appear dated and irrelevant, allowing competitors to outshine them in this regard, as competitors will make themselves appear to be more inclusive, culturally aware and up-to-date. 

Next, it is going to result in at least one marketing faux pas, such as when imagery or concepts in ads are insensitive to certain cultures, or when certain phrases get lost in translation. Either way, a lack of cultural awareness will eventually make its way into a marketing campaign, poorly reflecting on a company. 

This, in turn, will make a business appear to be rude, insensitive or willfully ignorant about a particular demographic, nation or socioeconomic group. It is similar to that of a business simply being out of tune with its target market, therefore sending them irrelevant, poorly targeted, clueless or unwanted messages. 

All of these consequences carry dangerous risks, such as landing into a PR crisis, deterring existing customers from making further transactions,  turning away current customers for good, declining sales and at worst, shutting down due to lack of business. 

Thus, businesses should attempt to understand cultural differences among their target market segments and practice cultural marketing to properly appeal to a wide range of customers. This will show consumers that a business cares about them, their unique cultural needs and sensitivities, and is soliciting their attention in an inclusive manner. 

How to Engage in Cultural Marketing

There are several major undertakings in cultural marketing. First off, a business must become versed in several cultural matters, as they relate to their diverse customer segments. This involves conducting secondary market research to understand dominant cultural trends and matters.

It also involves studying and listening to their target market, in order to address and cater to their unique needs. This involves conducting primary market research, as self-conducted research allows brands to examine things particular to their business and customers, allowing them to inquire into specific cultures. 

The following lists how to engage in cultural marketing:

  1. Understand cultural norms to avoid missteps.
    1. Some nations and their cultures are more conservative
  2. Observe the six dimensions of culture. These provide the key features of a culture, or the mental programming instilled within countries and peoples. Understanding each culture and country’s stance in each will allow you to market to it appropriately. 
    1. Power Distance
    2. Individualism
    3. Indulgence
    4. Masculinity
    5. Uncertainty avoidance
    6. Long-term orientation
  3. Demonstrate relevance in your messaging with marketing personalization
    1. This also involves staying atop the latest concerns and trends. For example, not all ethnicities are concerned with the same issues, as aren’t all socioeconomic groups.
  4. Leverage customer data to anticipate needs and avoid making mistakes due to cultural differences.
    1. This includes conducting market research, both primary and secondary, along with using other customer data tools, such as analytics. 
  5. Surprise and delight customers, while taking cultural norms, practices and taboos in mind.
    1. All customer segments will appreciate surprises that benefit them, such as a sale or promotion, especially if it is tied to their culture.  
    2. Make sure to not offend your target cultural segments. 

How to Use Surveys to Execute Cultural Marketing

Surveys are the most apt tools to use to properly execute cultural marketing campaigns. This is because they can be used in virtually all of the above practices for executing cultural marketing campaigns. 

Businesses can use surveys to identify and categorize their target market into granular segments and personas, allowing businesses to learn about various demographic, psychographic and class-based groups. As such, surveys provide brands with insight into major cultural aspects, such as the six dimensions of culture and marketing personalization.

They are the most potent tool for gathering customer intelligence and data, as businesses can gain insights into any topic of their choice and deploy it to a mass network of digital users (depending on the online survey platform).

Surveys allow brands to stay abreast with the latest cultural happenings, shifts and trends, so long as they are deployed regularly. They are especially useful for cultural marketing, since brands can screen their respondents prior to moving them to the questionnaire to ensure that their respondents belong to the brand’s cultural background of study.  

In this way, surveys help businesses stay organized, ironing out any organizational or categorical kinks from the process, as there are many diverse groups that businesses ought to study in order to take part in cultural marketing. 

After segmenting customers and data, businesses can use the data they extracted from surveys to guide all of their cultural marketing efforts. This is because surveys are essentially a vessel that connects businesses with their customers, revealing all kinds of customer opinions and needs to businesses, so that they can become culturally aware and avoid poorly executed marketing campaigns.

Remaining Culturally Relevant

The importance of culture in terms of marketing is major. The world market is made up of many smaller markets.  As such, the entire world economy is composed of smaller, distinct economies with their own cultures and languages. 

In order to tap into these economies, brands must be attuned to their unique culture. Surveys are an excellent option to use to gain insight into different cultures, cultural needs and differences, allowing brands to avoid making mistakes in their cultural marketing.

To execute a successful survey study, businesses ought to invest in a strong online survey platform, the kind that makes it easy and practical to screen respondents on a granular level, set up a questionnaire, deploy it to the masses and filter data in the post-survey results. 

Additionally, a useful online survey platform offers artificial intelligence to perform quality checks that remove poor quality data from making its way into the results of the survey. When a business invests in such a survey platform, it is on the right track to study different cultures and demographics and successfully execute cultural marketing